4.17.2015

And If Not, He Is Still Good {Our Heartbreak}

I'm an open book. I have always felt that if whatever I have endured can help others and point them to Christ, then I would talk. I would write.

So today, I write about our heartbreak.

On Wednesday, we were having a baby. On Thursday, we weren't.

Mike and I enjoy being parents more than we expected. Isabel is an immense source of joy in our lives. And she's such a "good" baby. She's full of spunk and sass and never. stops. moving, but she sleeps 12+ hours at night plus naps, and she is affectionate and funny. It's no surprise that we wanted to add to our family, sooner rather than later.

We didn't have trouble conceiving Isabel, so (foolishly) we thought it wouldn't be an issue to have another. Four months later, and I was still waiting. I know that's not a long time to wait. Not in the grand scheme of things, and not compared to how long many women wait. But every month feels like a lifetime. On our timetable, we wanted children close together. On our timetable, we wanted another child before the end of the year. But our timetable is not God's perfect timetable.

I thought another month had ended in failure. And then nothing happened. So on Sunday morning, I took a test. It was positive. Faintly positive, but positive. I was pregnant. I shook with emotion. I was so grateful. We wanted this baby so badly!

I'll never forget how Mike tenderly touched my belly before church. It took him months to do that the first time. But now he knows fatherhood. He knows the richness of new life.

I took another test in the afternoon to be sure, and it was still faintly positive. I will also never forget Mike's response to that test. "Yep," he said, "You're knocked up." Crude, but true.  We told our parents and siblings, but Mike wanted me to wait to tell friends since we found out a week earlier than last time. I was only about 4 weeks, due in mid-December. I took another test a couple days later since it had been faint. Still faint, but still positive. So this was real.

For almost a week, I carried a secret much like I carried that seed-sized baby. I wrote a letter to the baby and started planning, because I'm a planner.

And then Thursday morning I woke up and I was bleeding. In my heart, I knew.

I had to be normal. I had a photo shoot, I had to take care of my child, I had to be out in public and go to the doctor. So I had to be normal. Even though the bleeding got worse, I had to be normal.

I went to the doctor and it didn't look good, though he wouldn't give me a definite answer until the blood work results came in the next day.

But I had to be normal because Isabel needed me to be normal. I sang "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" to her when she fussed in the car, as usual. But this time it meant so much more. When I bathed her, I sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness," as usual. But this time, my voice wavered. Not because I didn't believe it, but because I did.

When Mike came home and Isabel was down for a nap, I finally let go of normal and cried as my husband held me. We cried together for the baby we would never get to hold, for the future that we wouldn't get to see. For the life that had ended so very soon. It was a life. It wasn't a mass of tissue. It was a life.

That's why I have to write about this. I need others to know that this baby existed. There is no other evidence besides three positive pregnancy tests in a garbage bag. I need people to know that this baby lived and died, because it matters.

A miscarriage is not something you think will ever become a part of your story. You don't stand there on your wedding day, dreaming of your future and imagine weeping with your spouse over a lost pregnancy. But it happens, and it happens so often. I know so many women (and subsequently men) touched by this kind of loss.

Today, our little family of three walked up to the doctor again. As I heard an ultrasound machine and  a healthy heartbeat in the room next door, my doctor told me it was "absolutely" a miscarriage.

My baby had absolutely died.

And I was absolutely crushed.

Some who read this might say, "you were only 5 weeks when you miscarried. That's not as bad as _________." It's true that I can't even begin to imagine the pain of a late miscarriage. But that doesn't negate my pain. For the short, almost week I knew about this child, I loved it. It was real, and anyone who has ever been pregnant for any length of time can tell you how real it gets, quickly.

Some might say, "just be grateful for the child you have." To them, I say this:

I am unspeakably grateful for my daughter. But that doesn't mean I didn't want this child too. This child was wanted. This child was prayed for.

Why am I writing this while the pain is so fresh? I need to. I need to tell the world that this baby existed. And I also need to tell the world that God is still good. All yesterday, I kept thinking, "if not, he is still good." In the words of my father, "why not me?" The Lord gives and takes away. His plan is perfect, and I trust it. I trust him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Strangely, it isn't hard to still feel blessings during this time. One is the wonderful, caring group of friends who are taking care of us, praying for us, and checking up on us. It is so nice to have a church family to lift us up in our darkest moments. I am so thankful for the body of Christ.

I am thankful for articles like THIS that make me cry but make me so thankful for God and his Word to us {seriously the best article I've read on this topic}.

So this is our heartbreak. We are alright, but we are grieving. I am in physical pain too. But we are convinced that our God is still good and worthy of praise. We would also covet your prayers.


xoxo, A